|Wednesday, November 4, 1998||
Volume 64, Issue 52
Coogs Bowl Bound?
|Rookie squad snubbed
By D. Ryan Monceaux
Going into Tuesday night, the Cougar soccer team had continually made history all season long. Coach Chris Huston had assembled a team from less that scratch, having only an NCAA rule book and an office when she started out.
But what she has built in the last 16 months has been nothing short of remarkable.
Huston's squad has put together an 11-7 record this season, far and away the best of any of the first-year programs in the nation. Huston's team went 8-3 in C-USA action, garnering a third-place seed in this week's conference tournament. All of this went above and beyond the expectations and wildest dreams of anyone in the Athletics Department.
The team won nine straight matches at one point, all but one of those in league play. Walk-ons Lisa Duffus and Fleceia Comeaux were essential in winning streak, and considering neither had played organized soccer in more than five years, they were incredibly ready to play each game. Give credit to each athlete, but also to the coaching of Huston and assistant Steve Branz.
So when the team left Tuesday for Dallas and the C-USA Tournament, expectations for this week were at an all-time high. But not everything worked out as it should have.
No, the tournament doesn't start until this afternoon, but the team has already been screwed over by the powers-that-be. Tuesday night, the C-USA awards were given out, most notably for Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and First, Second, and Third team All-Conference. UH got a little run, but not what Huston and her players deserved.
Michelle Denommé, far and away the best defensive player in the conference, was snubbed and put on the second team. The player who finished ahead of Denommé did not compare with her. Didn't even come in the same ballpark. Denommé posted 1.27 goals against and recorded four shutouts. She was also the only player in league history to win back to back player of the week awards. The girl who beat Denommé (pardon me if her name slips my mind) did not have a single player of the week award. UH 0, Sub-UH schools 1.
Huston, who clearly deserved to be coach of the year, was also looked over in favor of Logan Fleck, head coach of South Florida. Granted, USF finished first in the conference, and beat UH, but, in all fairness, Fleck did not start where Huston did.
Fleck had a team previous to February. Fleck had head coaching experience. Fleck had a program in place that won 10 games last season. Huston did not. But in the school's first year, she accomplished so much. In spite of that, and probably because she doesn't have a reputation yet, Huston was looked over for coach of the year, an award that, if it had to be given out, should have gone to Huston. UH 0, Sub-UH schools 2.
Fleceia Comeaux was selected for third team all conference, but her selection could even draw criticism. Not so much that she isn't deserving, but her fellow senior on the team, Lisa Duffus, was altogether dissed by the conference. Duffus finished the season with 20 points, leading the Cougars in that category. Why was Duffus overlooked? I couldn't tell you, but it really seems UH got a raw deal here also. UH .5, Sub-UH schools 2.5
Kara "The Bull" Bullinger and Denise Peralta were selected to the All-Freshman Team. Both are incredibly worthy of the distinction. But team members Courtney Sabbe and Laura Repp, among others, were also deserving. I realize that UH can't take all the awards, but we should win a fair share, right?
So what the Cougars have to do now is simple: They have to go out and play their asses off. Each player who was snubbed has to have her best stretch of the season, culminating with the team winning the entire tournament.
That goal begins today, as the Coogs face two-time defending champ Cincinnati. Houston is favored to win, but that hardly means anything right now. I know they will go out and win the whole damn thing, thus earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Such a fate would be the most fitting end for a squad that was so blatantly
Reach Monceaux at